Friday, March 21, 2014


A few classes ago the shows Extreme Makeover and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition popped up in our discussion. There is now a show called American Dream Builders (premiering March 23 at 8pm) that looks very similar to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition:
In class we talked about the idea of self-surveillance, a term found in the article we read by Cathie LeBlanc titled Fear and Loathing in Second Life: Body Surveillance in the Online Comminuty. This term means exactly what it sounds like: self-surveillance is this medical gaze we adopt that allows us to objectify ourselves and see our "flaws" and how to "fix" them (LeBlanc 1). The Extreme Makeover shows are examples of such self-surveillance, with makeovers to the participant's body and house because they see some flaw in them and wish them to be fixed. American Dream Builders is similar but with a focus on the builders and designers rather than the families who own the houses on the show.

In an article I found on that reviews the show, reporter Brian Lowry points out this very interesting aspect of the show: "But the actual decision on who 'wins' — in a move intended to elicit gasps, apparently — falls to the extended neighborhood, in a sort of 'It takes a village to decide if that vanity goes with the tile' flourish" (Lowry). I think this is NBS's effort to smooth one of the major bumps in Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: the remodeled homes stood out a lot on their streets and undoubtedly caused tension between neighbors. By having the neighborhood weigh in on the results of the remodeling, the show tries to smooth over that jealousy and visual display of class (even if the family may not actually be that wealthy).

One of my questions upon finding this show and reading a little about it, is how are these homes selected? Is it similar to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in which the owners send in some sort of letter/application/video to convince the producer that they deserve the remodeling? While I have not been successful in finding any answers to this question, I have stumbled across a contest NBC is having to promote the show in which anyone can enter for a chance to win $100,000 in Lowe's products and services as well as a consultation with the winner of the show. This alone promotes self-surveillance among viewers of the show so that they enter the contest because they have seen the remodeling on the show and then think about what their own homes "need fixed".

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if maybe in order the houses are selected through nominations? Perhaps neighbors, friends and family must all agree to send in a package to nominate their friends in need. This would be another effort to smooth over the jealousy, and also allow everyone to be included. this technique reminds me of What Not To Wear,. Contestants are chosen based off nominations from others, and you cannot nominate yourself. i feel this may be a better method for Makeover Shows such as this. :)


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